Select 2021

Things to do on and off line this year

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Oldham

Zog – the children’s book that was made into a short TV adaptation in 2018 – gets the stage treatment. The mythical world of Zog the dragon is brought to life with handcrafted puppets handled by expert actor-puppeteers.

12-14 Aug, Oldham Coliseum (coliseum.org.uk)

Manchester

Counter-flow: The Movement Of Cultures From One Place To Another is an exhibition focusing on the spread of cultural identities. The various forms of art by Eva Mileusnic include 100 pairs of ceramic feet, and the family-friendly workshop on Wednesdays allows visitors the opportunity to decorate their own pair of plaster feet. 

Until 10 Oct, People’s History Museum (pmh.org.uk)

Sheffield

The exhibits in Earthbound reflect the natural world and Sheffield’s own local history. Pieces in the collection are curated by the Roberts Institute of Arts and it features work from seven artists. 

5 Aug-31 Oct, Millennium Gallery (museums-sheffield.org.uk)

Liverpool

The Magic of the Beatles is a tribute performance taking viewers back to the swinging sixties, with hits such as Here Comes the Sun and Hey Jude just two of many Beatles classics performed by a cast who look and sound the part.

15 Aug, Liverpool Empire (atgtickets.com)

Bedale

The Yorkshire Pudding Festival at Camp Hill Estate is a world first. Celebrating Yorkshire’s most famous dish, the event will include trade stalls, bars, music and family entertainment. 

14-15 Aug, Camp Hill Estate (camphill.co.uk)

Preston

City centre entertainment returns to Preston as Prestfest takes centre stage in mid-August. In the daytime, a family event includes music from Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp and 2017 X-Factor winners Rak-Su, whil the Shapeshifters are one of the highlights late into the evening. 

14 Aug, Preston Flag Market (visitpreston.com)

Todmorden

Join writer and poet Emma Decent on her Words in the Wild two-mile reflective walk in the beautiful hills of Cornholme, Todmorden. The event invites you to connect with the landscape as you amble through the countryside accompanied by Decent’s poetry and prose, which reflects on time, memory, and being in the present. 

15 August, Todmorden (emmadecent.co.uk)

Leeds

Dead Inspiring is a new insect exhibition taking visitors through a collection of hi-tech photographs showing bugs in a different light. These displays are part of Leeds Museum’s aim
to empower young women to pursue careers in science. The works can also be visited online.

Ongoing, Leeds City Museum (museumandgalleries.Leeds.gov.uk)

Blackpool

The story of a summer romance between naive Baby and holiday camp entertainer Johnny, the hit UK tour of Dirty Dancing retells the classic film’s story on stage. Including hit song The Time of My Life and the rest of the original soundtrack, the show has toured internationally.

3-28 August, Opera House (wintergardensblackpool.co.uk)

Leeds

Mothers In Lockdown is an exhibition compiling the work of photographer Fran Monks. In collaboration with the University of Huddersfield, the gallery features portraits of 12 women and documents their experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic from 2020. 

Until 31 Aug, Thackray Museum of Medicine (thackraymuseumofmedicine/whatson)

Liverpool

A three-day event in north Liverpool, Bridge celebrates a new 72ft long structure created to bring together different communities and cultures in the area. Dance, comedy, workshops and nightly outdoor performances are all on the agenda. 

5-7 Aug, Breeze Hill Millennium Green (cultureliverpool.co.uk/bridge)

Salford

With You Belong Here local artists including Cheddar Gorgeous rediscover Salford’s green spaces. The exhibition, in partnership with the Salford University Art Collection, will include five new commissions from local artists and the pre-booking event will also include talks and online content. 

15 July-28 November, Salford Museum and Art Gallery (www.you-belong-here.salford.ac.uk)

Southport

The Landing: Flavours is an exhibition of affordable art from three leading regional artists – Carole Dawber, Caroline Kaye and Lisa Langan (work pictured). 

7 Aug-4 Sept, The Atkinson (theatkinson.co.uk/exhibition/flavours)

St Helens

Haydock Races will potentially be welcoming a full capacity crowd back through the gates for the Rose of Lancaster Carnival in early August, and one of those making an appearance is former Boyzone singer Ronan Keating. The Irish star will perform on Friday evening after an afternoon of flat racing for spectators. 

6 Aug, (thejockeyclub.co.uk/haydock)

Garstang

Many agricultural festivals are returning this month for the first time since 2019, and Garstang Show will be showcasing the best of the local community. Expect a range of livestock classes, stalls, and family fun for all. 

7 Aug, Wyre Lane Garstang (garstangshow.org)

Wigan

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics is a project by artists Anna FC Smith and Helen Mather exploring how portrayals of Leigh women from pre-Peterloo reform societies as witches and beasts can be repurposed within contemporary social and political contexts.

Until 13 Aug, The Turnpike
(theturnpike.org.uk)

Manchester

The three-week long Hope Fest presents a programme of comedy, music, plays and musical theatre as well as one-off special community events. Highlights of the festival include Jason Manford’s Comedy Club, The Other Guys – a tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – The Dolly Show and Entr’acte’s and Encore’s, an evening of movie and theatre icons through drag and burlesque.

Until 8 Aug, Hope Mill Theatre (hopemilltheatre.co.uk)

Bradford

Sound Season is an inspiring series of exhibitions and events exploring how sound fills our world, helping visitors to understand the invisible phenomenon and encouraging them to play and experiment with its properties.

From 23 July, Science and Media Museum (scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk) 

Yorkshire Coast

A series of treasure trails are ready to discover in East Yorkshire this summer, keeping families entertained on scenic two-mile walks. A detective mystery takes participants around the seaside towns of Hornsea and Filey, around Bridlington and Scarborough harbours there are spy missions,  and in the village of Flamborough a murder mystery is waiting to be solved.

Ongoing (treasuretrails.co.uk)

Leeds / online

Online exhibition In These Four Walls features over 600 works of contemporary art, animation, illustration, graphic design, film, fashion, textiles, creative advertising, music and photography, from across 14 undergraduate courses at Leeds Art University.

Until 30 Sept, (leeds-art.ac.uk/2021-show)

Southport

Pottery and Pastel is a retrospective of work from ceramicist Chris Hughes, who creates hand-built bowls, lampshades and clocks from his studio in Ainsdale.

27 July-7 Aug, The ArtHouse
(sca-network.co.uk)

York

On loan from the National Portrait Gallery, Richard III’s famous portrait goes on display as part of a new exhibition alongside groups of objects associated with the 15th century king. The portrait is on loan as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s Coming Home project, in which paintings of figureheads are returned to places across the UK with which they are most closely associated.

Ongoing, Yorkshire Museum (yorkshiremuseum.org.uk)

Leeds

The life and music of renowned singer Edith Piaf will be performed on stage as a musical biography. Piaf documents the musician’s rise from singing on the streets of Paris to international stardom and features some of her  most famous songs, including La Vie en Rose, Hymne à l’Amour and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.

23 July-7 August, Leeds Playhouse (leedsplayhouse.org.uk)

Hull

The streets of Verona are transported to the Humber as one of the greatest love stories ever told unfolds on the Stage@TheDock outdoor venue. The costumes for this telling of Romeo and Juliet are designed with a 1940s-1950s inspiration and there will be live music performed throughout thanks to composer and performer Nicholas Goode. 

15 July-7 Aug, Hull Truck Theatre (hulltruck.co.uk)

Liverpool

Imaginarium Theatre is currently touring the parks, gardens and green spaces of the Liverpool city-region for a joyful reprise of one of Shakespeare’s best loved pastoral comedies, As You Like It. Set in the merry world of the Forest of Arden the hilarious and magical outdoor promenade performance features cross-dressing heroines and triumphant heroes.

Until 14 Aug, various locations (imaginariumtheatre.co.uk)

Sheffield

Sheffield-born John Hoyland (1934-2011) is considered one of Britain’s leading abstract painters. Ten years after his death the Millennium Gallery launches the exhibition The Last Paintings, which features nine large-scale canvases painted during the final eight years of his life, some of which have never been publicly displayed before.

Until 10 October, Millennium Gallery

(museums-sheffield.org.uk/museums/millennium-gallery) 

Bolton

Octagon Theatre stages The Hound of the Baskervilles. Reuben Johnson, Simon Kane and Polly Lister star in the theatre’s new adaptation of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic throughout July. 

1 July-7 Aug, Octagon Theatre (octagonbolton.co.uk)

Liverpool

Imaginarium Theatre returns to the green spaces of the Liverpool city-region this summer, with outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The production promises an abundance of magic and fun for all the family.

3 July-14 Aug, various locations (imaginariumtheatre.co.uk)

Sheffield

The Sheffield Project is a series of photographs taken in the 1980s, which witnessed the Miners’ Strike, the steel industry’s workforce decimated, mass unemployment and dereliction. Since then, Sheffield has reimagined its future. Photographers reflect on a monumental period of change for the city and its people. Pictured: Untitled by Tim Smith

Until 28 November, Weston Park Museum (museums-sheffield.org.uk)

Preston

A unique display of art through the medium of signs will be on display in Preston. Bob and Roberta Smith is actually one New York-trained artist, activist, art education advocate, writer and musician who assumed the pseudonym while he was living and working with his sister, Roberta. Creating artworks by using text, slogans and sign painting, the display will feature his most well-known works in addition to never-before-seen pieces.

Until 2 October, The Harris (theharris.org.uk)  

North Yorkshire

Marking the centenary of the death of Walter Morrison, a new festival will celebrate the life of the Yorkshire philanthropist who was dedicated to improving the lives and living conditions of people less fortunate than himself. The festival will include several exhibitions detailing aspects of Morrison’s life and the impression it has left on the community a century after his death.

Until 30 September, The Folly (thefolly.org.uk) 

Liverpool

Soft Boys is a short film exploring race, gender, sexuality and self care through the eyes of a black trans man from Somalia. It was created by locally-based artist Kiara Mohamad and aims to spark conversation about understanding a person’s identity in the natural world.

Until 29 August, FACT (fact.co.uk)

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